Principals' Decision-Making as Correlates of Crisis Management in South-West Nigerian Secondary Schools
Oredein, Afolakemi Olasumbo, International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning
The post of a principal is a position that enables an individual to control, coordinate or set the patterns of behaviour for the teaching and non-teaching staff in the school. Suffice to say that the principal, whose duty is to ensure that the above-mentioned responsibilities are realised, faces a daunting task in the course of discharging or performing his/her official functions. The day-to-day administration of the school is the objective of the school principal, as is the oversight of the teachers and non-teaching staff who may or may not have direct influence in his/her decisionmaking process. Consequently, in the process of influencing the activities of the school towards goal setting and goal achievement, the principal who is the leader may unwittingly undermine the suggestions of his/her subordinates, especially his/her teachers, and hence crisis could not be ruled out in such situations arising in the course of performing official responsibilities.
Biersdorff (2001) opines that there is a need in every organisation for a force with legitimate, traditional authority to direct and control or coordinate the human resources, who in turn make use of the physical, material and financial resources so that organisational goals can be achieved. And the principal's situation is no exception in this regard, although the principal's discretion is directly or indirectly conditioned by a centrally prepared curriculum, planned or pre-established budget or other factors. The fact is that there are desired goals for the school principal to strive to achieve and the modalities to achieve such goals have been set and handed down to him/her. The principal's leadership initiatives as well as his/her intellect will combine effectively with other qualities which include decision-making competence, not only to achieve such desired goals but also to manage effectively the crisis that may arise or occur in the course of accomplishing this Herculean task.
The decision-making competence of a school principal will depend to a large extent on the leadership qualities exhibited by such a principal/ For instance, a charismatic leader, who is sometimes referred to as a symbolic leader, is an individual who possesses an exceptional quality which he/she implants on willing followers. This is, however, not without some measures of difficulty because very few people possess such exceptional qualities and it is rare for personal qualities of leadership to be acquired by training but this can be complemented by the principal through his/her considerable experience in administration.
In contemporary societies, various organisations - educational, military, governmental, religious, health and industries - exist and have goals which they strive to attain. Indeed, the fundamental job of every manager, leader or administrator, whether as head of an educational institution or as an executive director of a business firm, is that of making decisions. Ajibade (1993) says that most human activities require the act of deciding and doing respectively. Most of the time, decisionmaking is erroneously taken as an action confined to the formulation of the overall objectives or goals of the establishment. Ejiogu (1983) postulates that decision-making is concerned with deciding and passing judgment or making up one's mind. It implies choosing from two or more alternatives. For instance, teachers are always making decisions as they try to answer questions like 'How shall I treat this particular lesson topic tomorrow? What teaching aid shall I use?' In other words, the teacher is continuously choosing courses of action to guide and direct his/her behaviour. Hence, the decision-making process is the way of choosing from a set of alternatives and by so doing bringing an end to vacillation and doubt. Adeboyejo (1992) defines decision-making as a responsibility of all administrators. In the secondary school system, the principal takes decision on staff, money, materials, time and programs, among others. …